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A nonprofit internship in the right destination can boost your career, broaden your mind, introduce you to new ways of life, and connect you with lifelong friends. How do you pick the right destination, though?

A lot of thought goes into choosing a nonprofit internship destination. You’ll need to consider your career goals and the cause you’d like to contribute to. Then the logistics of finances and language barriers need to be factored in too.

Let’s not forget that a nonprofit internship abroad is a fantastic chance to see the world as well. So, if there are any must-visit countries on your bucket list, this might be the perfect opportunity to check them off.

Perhaps you’ve asked yourself, “Where can I do a nonprofit internship?” We´ve got you covered. In this article, you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to choose an internship destination. We’ll offer some useful tips for deciding where to intern, how to sift through nonprofit internships, and how to choose an internship. We’ll also suggest some of the best destinations for the nonprofit internships we offer.

interns having a meeting

1. Define your priorities

The exact elements of what makes the perfect nonprofit internship destination will change from person to person. So the first step in choosing a nonprofit internship destination is to decide what’s important to you.

Consider the causes that resonate with you the most and the skills you want to develop. Knowing your priorities will narrow down your options vastly and guide you toward the best places to intern for your passions. For instance, if you know you’re passionate about conservation, you can skip a few steps and just start searching for the best environmental internships.

Here are some useful questions to ask yourself at this point in the process:

  • What causes am I passionate about?
  • What skills do I want to develop?
  • What cultural and lifestyle factors are important for me?
  • Are there any countries I’ve always wanted to visit?

2. Research opportunities

Now that you have an idea of what your goals are, you need to ask, “Where can I do a nonprofit internship to support these goals?” The best way to do this is by simply Google-searching your way through the world of nonprofit internship options out there.

Fair warning, this can take time. There are a lot of options. Our advice is to create a ‘Favorite’ tab on your browser and add to it over the course of a week, whenever you have the chance.

At this point, you’re creating a long list, which you’ll reduce later on. So, you can be liberal with what you add to the list. Still, keep in mind what makes the perfect nonprofit internship destination for you. Try to find opportunities that align with your priorities from the prior step. If you know you want to explore Africa, search specifically for the best places to intern in Africa.

3. Reach out for advice

As you search through the possibilities of where to intern, you’ll start to get a better idea of the kind of experience you want from your nonprofit internship abroad. Now, as you continue to gather information to make your decision, look for someone who you can talk through options with.

It’s a good idea to contact potential host organizations and ask more about specific internships. You could also turn to a school teacher or college professor who could offer advice on career development. Alternatively, you might just want to talk things through with family or friends.

Alternatively, you could get some insider tips on how to pick the best place for a nonprofit internship from nonprofit internship specialists and get in touch with us.

4. Consider logistics

So you know what you want, you know what’s out there, and you’ve gathered some tips and advice from those around you. Now, you’re ready to start making that long list of nonprofit internship options shorter. That means getting realistic.

Alas, it’s rare to find a paid nonprofit internship abroad, so most will be self-funded. This means a vital part of answering “Where can I do a nonprofit internship?” is asking, “Where can I afford to travel to and live for an extended period?”

Calculate the costs of flights, visas, vaccinations, and the cost of living in each destination and see which ones seem realistic. Fortunately, some of the best destinations for nonprofit internships are incredibly budget-friendly. So, learning how to pick the best place for a nonprofit internship needn’t make you too worried.

a woman using her laptop and calculating her budget

5. Consider language barriers and cultural differences

Another important part of choosing an internship destination is figuring out where you’ll feel comfortable living.

A language barrier can be difficult to overcome during a nonprofit internship abroad, especially when based in remote locations. You’ll easily find nonprofit internship options for English speakers in any destination. However, it’s worth considering how this will affect your downtime during the internship.

Also, ask most people what makes the perfect nonprofit internship destination and they’d say it’s the chance to explore different ways of life. That said, culture shock can also be difficult for interns to overcome. So, it’s worth thoroughly researching the cultures of your chosen destination.

There may also be things you’ll need to be sensitive to in certain destinations: women may have to dress a certain way and members of the LGBTQ community might have to take extra safety precautions. These important factors should influence your choice of where to intern.

6. Make your choice

It seems axiomatic that a guide on how to choose an internship destination should include a step: choose an internship destination. We have a useful tip for you here though. The best method for how to pick the best place for a nonprofit internship is to pick the best internship.

At the end of the day, a nonprofit internship abroad is a fantastic way to travel but you should focus on the internships over the destination. Don’t miss out on a fantastic opportunity in one country because you want to visit another.

Certain logistic realities will influence your decision, but ultimately it should be your career goals and the cause you are passionate about that lead your decision the most. Thankfully for you, we also have a blog about how to choose an internship with an NGO

a person tossing a mini globe

Best Destinations for Nonprofit Internships


The vibrant cultural tapestry, breathtaking landscapes, and lively rhythms of Brazil make it one of the best destinations for nonprofit internships. Explore iconic cities, stunning coastlines, and the Amazon Rainforest while making a difference for meaningful causes. This diverse nonprofit internship destination offers opportunities in conservation, education, and community development.


In this exotic nonprofit internship destination, interns will find fascinating history, awesome natural beauty, and fantastic nonprofit internship options. Cambodia is a treasure trove of exciting opportunities and provides a meaningful backdrop for nonprofit internships focused on education, mental health development, and healthcare.


Explore the biodiversity of Ecuador while working towards conservation, sustainable development, public health, and education. There are so many reasons why Ecuador is one of the best places for a nonprofit internship. This gem of a nonprofit internship destination combines natural wonders and distinct cultural traditions with opportunities to work on intuitive solutions to important issues.


So, where can you do a nonprofit internship in Africa? Why not the heart of Africa in Malawi? Engage in grassroots community projects and contribute to positive change in this beautiful country. The warm-hearted people and stunning landscapes create a welcoming, idyllic environment for nonprofit interns passionate about sustainable social and economic development.


Combine professional growth with the charm of Dutch culture in the Netherlands. The country’s capital, Amsterdam, though famed for its nightlife and coffee shops, is a hub of nonprofit and voluntary work. In this progressive European nonprofit destination, community work is part of the culture, as are energetic initiatives and innovative ways to promote inclusivity, social causes, and environmental responsibility.

South Africa

South Africa, the Rainbow Nation, is certainly one of the best places to intern in Africa, arguably the world. A diverse patchwork of cultures, important history, and jaw-dropping natural beauty all add to any nonprofit internship abroad in South Africa. What’s more, Roots has an extensive network in South Africa, so you can find an array of nonprofit internship options in all kinds of academic fields.

landscape photo of Cape Town, South Africa


Discover the historic charm and warm hospitality of Portugal while contributing to sustainable initiatives. Here you’ll find opportunities in veterinary work, conservation, reforestation, and environmental conservation. All the while, you’ll enjoy sunny beaches, delicious cuisine, and lively cultural celebrations.

Now It’s Time to Choose a Destination for a Nonprofit Internship!

Selecting the best places for a nonprofit internship is a lengthy process. It involves marrying your career goals, passions, and values with logistical considerations. By following the steps on how to choose an internship destination outlined in this blog, you can make a well-informed decision.

Remember that the destination is a crucial aspect, but the focus should be on choosing an internship, not where to intern. Find an opportunity that resonates with your career goals and commitment to making a positive impact. Now armed with insights and recommendations, it’s time to take the next step and choose a nonprofit internship abroad that aligns perfectly with what you want.

Browse through our available nonprofit internships abroad

 This blog was written by Tom Rusbridge